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Good Die Young, The (1954)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

A Jaguar Mk.VII speeds through nocturnal Chelsea. Its four occupants are Eddie, a US Air Force Sergeant; Joe, an ex-GI; Mike, a crippled boxer and the driver, Miles 'Rave' Ravescourt. The quartet are about to rob a mail van.

Some days earlier. Joe is a New York clerk who flies to London in an attempt to wrest his English wife Mary from the clutches of her domineering mother. Eddie is married to an American film star working in the UK. Mike's hand was so badly damaged in his last fight that it has to be amputated and Rave, their leader and a supposed war hero, is supported in his playboy activities by his long suffering wife Eve. Rave has recently issued a £1000 cheque to cover his gambling debts, but Eve refuses to support him any longer and issues an ultimatum that they must start a new life in Africa to save their marriage.

Rave and a despondent Mike meet by chance in a local pub. Rave, a boxing fan, discovers that Mike has managed to accrue just £1000 of savings during his career and informs Mike that he knows of a good tobacconist's business that is for sale. Mike is keen to invest but learns that his wife Angela has given the money as bail for Dave, her ne'er-do-well brother, who subsequently vanishes. Joe is desperate for money that will allow him to rescue his pregnant wife from her claustrophobic home and, whilst on a 48-hour furlough, Eddie discovers that his wife Denise is having an affair with her co-star Tod Maslin. In a distraught state, he goes AWOL.

Rave approaches his estranged father, Sir Francis, who informs his son that any money from his late mother will be kept on trust, as he knows his son to be a cheat and a scoundrel. Sir Francis also strongly suspects that Rave's war record is entirely fabricated.

The four men regularly meet in the pub and Rave formulates a plan to rob a post office - which, he has learnt, is due to receive a delivery of £90,000 later that evening - as the solution to their financial woes. That night the gang await the van's arrival but when a policeman approaches the illegally parked Jaguar, Rave shoots the constable in cold blood. Although the heist is carried out the gang's escape route is blocked by a fleet of police cars.

Rave now becomes almost completely gun crazy and kills Mike when he tries to surrender. As the remaining trio flee they hide the money in a churchyard. When crossing the tube lines Eddie is forced by Rave onto a live rail. Joe escapes and together with Mary heads to the airport. Before his departure Joe telephones the police to inform them of where the money is hidden but on leaving the booth he is confronted by Rave. In the ensuing fight Rave is killed and Joe mortally wounded. As he and his wife walk to the 'plane Joe dies from his injuries. The money remains undiscovered from its hiding place.